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A Pamphlet attacking the Anti-Corn-Law League

The pamphlet originally was delivered as a speech at Huntingdon on 17 June 1843 by George Game Day. A meeting addressed by Bright and Moore on behalf of the Anti-Corn-Law League was totally unsuccessful owing to the intervention of Day, a Whig country gentleman of St. Ives. It was followed by the formation of an Anti-League Association for Huntingdonshire in January 1844.

The Anti-Corn-Law League was instituted at Manchester, in 1839, and has since extended its ramifications from its original depot to every corner of England. The tactic of its leaders is, to magnify present evils to those immediately suffering under them, and to delude the sufferers by assigning false grounds for the existence of such evils.... Hence, for this alone, they pronounce the landlords to be all that is base in honour, - brutal in feeling, - and wicked in morals!

Their conduct shows, that they have no dignified love of truth, - no serious wish for fair discussion; but seek every opportunity to interrupt and silence, rather than to hear, an opponent. . . . And what good does the League expect to accomplish for all the enormous sums which it has obtained, and is obtaining, from the public?

The following answers which I place in juxtaposition, are from the Leaguers themselves:

The League Oracle [The Anti-Corn-Law Circular] says

Mr Cobden says

'If we have free trade, the landlord's rents will fall 100%. (League Circular, No. 15 and No. 12.)

'If we have free trade, the landlords will have as good rents as now.' (Speech in the House of Commons, 15 May last.)

'provisions will fall one-third.' (League Circular, No. 34)

'The Corn Law makes the labourer pay double the price for his food. (League Circular, No. 15.)

'Provisions will be no cheaper.' (Speech at Bedford, 10 June last.)

The Corn Law compels us to pay three times the value for a loaf of bread.' (League Circular, No. 13.) 'The argument for cheap bread was never mine.' (Morning Chronicle, 30th June 1843.)

In the American port of Cincinnati alone, there are a million of quarters of wheat which we could purchase at 16s.; -. or less than one- fourth the price which we are now compelled to pay for our home-grown product.' - (League Circular, No. 39.)

'The idea of low-priced foreign corn is all a delusion.' (Salisbury Herald, 29 July 1843)

Messrs Villiers, Muntz, Hume, Roche, Thornton, Rawson, Sandars, (all avowed Free Traders) say, and the oracle of the League itself has said, that 'We want free trade, to enable us to reduce wages, that we may compete with foreigners.' (Speech, pp. 13-16.)

Messrs Cobden, Bright, and Moore, now affirm - 'It is a base falsehood to say we want free trade to enable us to reduce the rate of wages.' - (Mr Cobden on Penenden Heath. Messrs Bright and Moore at Huntingdon.)

The League Oracle admits that 'a repeal would injure the farmer, but not so much as he fears.' (League Circular, No. 58.)

Cobden, Moore, and Bright, say, that it is to the interest of the farmer to have a total and immediate repeal. (Uxbridge, Bedford, Huntingdon.)

Thus, it will be seen that, upon the MOST VITAL POINTS, - points that have deluded thousands of their present votaries, - the Leaguers contradict themselves. They have been guilty of contradictions, such as would nonsuit any cause in any Court where Common Honesty sat as Judge! ...

Is it not the duty of every man, who desires peace and prosperity to his country, to arouse himself, and oppose a League so founded, - so conducted, - so mischievous, as this? I feel that, in this case, at least, the fetters of party ought to be broken; and that honourable men, of all shades of political opinion, should join together, as one man, to resist a confederacy which is inimical to the peace and the interests of our common country.

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Last modified 4 March, 2016

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